Who is the best team in every American state? We made a map

Ryan Kennedy
Alaska-Idaho

Summer is a time for whimsy, so I thought it would be fun to figure out which team is the best in all 50 states of the good ol’ USA. In some cases it was simple: Just mark down the local NHL team. In others not so much. For example, right off the hop you have Alabama. The state has a Division 1 college team in Alabama-Huntsville and a Southern Pro League team in the Huntsville Havoc. While the Havoc play in the low minors, they were a playoff squad. The Chargers, on the other hand, got wrecked last season, winning just two of 48 games. So I went with the Havoc.

The pecking order was pretty simple and based on last season’s standings: NHL, AHL, ECHL at the top, followed by the Central League, SPHL, college, major junior and the United States League. Other than Alabama, no judgement calls had to be made. The only exception to the standings rule was California. Yes, Anaheim had a better record in the regular season, but the Kings won the Stanley Cup and beat the Ducks in the playoffs. To the victors go the spoils.

Also, Hawaii was not included because according to USA Hockey, there are 19 registered players in the state and only 15 are adults.

In states where no pro, junior or Division 1 college team exist (there are eight), I chose the top NCAA club team. UNLV gets the nod in Nevada because the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers went dark after the season ended and won’t return until at least 2015-16.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the teams that rule, state by state:

Top_Team_byState
Click here to see large version of the image above

Here’s a key to the map, which was designed by Andre Valle of the THN art team:

Alabama – Huntsville Havoc (SPHL)

Alaska – Alaska Aces (ECHL)

Arizona – Arizona Coyotes (NHL)

Arkansas – University of Arkansas Razorbacks (NCAA club)

California – Los Angeles Kings (NHL)

Colorado – Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

Connecticut – Hartford Wolfpack (AHL)

Delaware – University of Delaware Blue Hens (NCAA club)

Florida – Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)

Georgia – Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL)

Hawaii – none

Idaho – Idaho Steelheads (ECHL)

Illinois – Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)

Indiana – Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL)

Iowa – Iowa Wild (AHL)

Kansas – Wichita Thunder (CHL)

Kentucky – University of Louisville Cardinals (NCAA club)

Louisiana – Louisiana IceGators (SPHL)

Maine – Portland Pirates (AHL)

Maryland – Navy Midshipmen (NCAA club)

Massachusetts – Boston Bruins (NHL)

Michigan – Detroit Red Wings (NHL)

Minnesota – Minnesota Wild (NHL)

Mississippi – Mississippi RiverKings (SPHL)

Missouri – St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Montana – Montana Tech Orediggers (NCAA club)

Nebraska – University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA)

Nevada – UNLV Rebels (NCAA club)

New Hampshire – Manchester Monarchs (AHL)

New Jersey – New Jersey Devils (NHL)

New Mexico – University of New Mexico Lobos (NCAA club)

New York – New York Rangers (NHL)

North Carolina – Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)

North Dakota – University of North Dakota (NCAA)

Ohio – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

Oklahoma – Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)

Oregon – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Rhode Island – Providence Bruins (AHL)

South Carolina – South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL)

South Dakota – Rapid City Rush (CHL)

Tennessee – Nashville Predators (NHL)

Texas – Dallas Stars (NHL)

Utah – Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)

Vermont – University of Vermont Catamounts (NCAA)

Virginia – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)

Washington – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

West Virginia – Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)

Wisconsin – Milwaukee Admirals (AHL)

Wyoming – University of Wyoming Cowboys (NCAA club)

D.C. – Washington Capitals (NHL)